I’m sure you’ve seen it, heard of it, or experienced it yourself; bullies, trolls, and drama on social media. Yes, these exist even in the creative community.
So, what is a bully?
Webster’s defines a bully as;
“A person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.”
What does this mean? Let’s look at the word habitually. Habitually means something done regularly. It’s a habit, a pattern of behavior. It isn’t a one time thing, it’s something the person does frequently.
Let’s think of it in terms of creative people and social media with an example.
Let’s say we have an artist named Bertha. Bertha has a disagreement with a fellow artist named Shawn. Bertha goes into attack mode.
She messages mutual friends of theirs, she slanders him, she does not miss an opportunity to speak ill of him.
She does this regularly. Not only does she do this to Shawn, Bertha has done this very same thing to other artists as well as to people in her personal life.
Bertha has a pattern of slandering people with the intention of causing them harm (attempting to tarnish their reputations, hurt their relationships with others, possibly damage their chances to work with companies, etc), and she undoubtedly sees them as being vulnerable in that she doesn’t view them as people who will fight back and launch similar crusades against her.
As outlandish as this scenario may sound it’s quite similar to one that actually happened to me. Yes, in the creative community.
This example of bullying brings us to our next subject; drama.
Urban Dictionary (while not the gold standard for definitions it often has the most accurate definitions of particular words and phrases) defines drama as;
“People making rumors to make themselves feel better, making it so someone can’t live in peace with everyone else, talking about someone behind their back.”
In short, drama is behaviors and actions that one would expect to experience in middle school or highschool.
Bertha, from our previous example, was causing drama.
She was trying to get people to side with her against the other artist.
She was involving people in an issue that should have been between her and the other artist.
She was attempting to damage the other artist’s reputation.
This is drama.
Finally we come to the topic of trolls. I’m turning to Urban Dictionary once more which defines a troll as;
“…someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”
I honestly don’t understand why someone would enjoy causing people to get upset. It truly baffles me.
I used to admin a couple of Facebook groups and I’ve seen a lot of trolling. The best way to deal with a troll is to ignore them. Trolls feed off of the distress they cause others. They feed off of reactions.
If you do not feed a troll it will go away.
I haven’t seen an excessive amount of trolling in the creative community but it’s there. The few times I’ve seen it the person whose post, video, etc. had become a troll’s target would either ignore the troll, delete the comment, or come up with something very witty to say.
Things to remember (there are a lot today!):
- If you have a problem with someone you don’t need to involve everybody and their grandma.
- It’s not cool to try to screw up someone’s reputation just because you don’t like them.
- Unless you’re in middle school or high school don’t act like you’re in middle school or high school.
- If someone tries dragging your name through the mud make sure you consistently show people who you really are. Let people form their own opinions; either they’ll believe the Berthas of the world or they’ll decide for themselves based on your consistent actions.
- If someone is being a jerk face to you my best advice is to block, block, block. If they take it into the real world don’t be afraid to look into a restraining order.
- Don’t be a jerk face but if you have been one…⬇️
- Own up to the mistakes you’ve made. If you’ve been rude or unkind or a giant butt head to someone apologize to them. Own it. Say, “I screwed up and I’m sorry.” The only thing worse than messing up is refusing to acknowledge that you messed up.
- Be nice to people. There’s a quote I love that goes something like “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.
Friends, let’s be nice to each other, okay? Life is hard enough as is.
Until next time,
I don’t have a funny rhyme today,